China's Youku Tudou, Sina Weibo Strike Content Deal

Victor Koo 2011

The online video giant headed by tech billionaire Victor Koo will provide users of China’s Twitter-like service with content links and personalized recommendations.

HONG KONG – Users of Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, will now be able to access the library of the country’s leading online video portal, Youku Tudou, after the two companies announced a content-sharing alliance on Friday.

In a statement released by Youku Tudou, the deal will allow Weibo users to view the company’s videos through thumbnail links appearing as search results on the miniblog service. Personalized recommendations will also be embedded between posted messages, the company said.

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"Creating and sharing content is at the core of the Internet, and Youku Tudou's cooperation with social networking sites such as Weibo is a powerful move toward deepening consumers' online video viewing and sharing experience," said Youku Tudou’s president Dele Liu.

While this collaboration could be seen as Youku Tudou’s attempts to strengthen its pedigree and reach in the online TV sector -- its rival, Baidu,  recently bought the streaming video service of Shanghai-based company PPS for $370 million and merged it with its own iQiyi streaming video site – Sina Weibo has also scored something of a coup by partnering with China's No. 1 online video site, as it continues to bolster its position against rival microblog service provider Tencent.

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According to Youku Tudou’s figures, their portal carried 4,500 films, 2,700 TV serials and over 900 variety shows as of December 31, 2012, with the content made available either through free, ad-supported streaming or with paid subscriptions. Among the licensed U.S. titles available on the portal are The Vampire Diaries, Criminal Minds, Modern Family and The Walking Dead.

Sina announced in February that the number of registered Weibo users had crossed the 500 million mark, with 46.3 million daily active users. Meanwhile, Youku Tudou now counts 400 million monthly users, a spokesperson for the company told The Hollywood Reporter in March.